HE Delhi High Court Saturday directed the Delhi Government to make all efforts to procure cryogenic tanks for the transportation of liquid oxygen from three plants in Durgapur, Rourkela and Kalinganagar and that it should not leave it entirely to the Central Government to act in this regard.
The efforts that the Delhi government must make to procure cryogenic tankers must not be trivialized, a division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli pointed out.
Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, for central government, said the Centre would also look into the issue so that a reasonable arrangement is worked out for making tanks available for transportation of liquid oxygen from all the three plants in coordination with the Delhi government.
The bench passed this order after Additional Secretary (Industries) and Joint Secretary in MHA informed the court that the Delhi government had not made arrangements for cryogenic tanks for transporting liquid oxygen from these plants.
The matter was listed for hearing today after the Maharaja Agrasen Hospital Charitable Trust, Saroj Super Speciality Hospital, Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre and the Jaipur Golden Hospital approached the court raising the issue of shortage of medical oxygen for treatment of serious patients, primarily, Covid patients in their respective hospitals.
The court noted that the problem Delhi continued to face had arisen primarily because the supply of oxygen to Delhi even at the allocated rate of 480 MT per day was not taking place. It pointed out that the primary reason for the same was that the three of the plants from which oxygen is to be supplied are situated at Rourkela, Durgapur and Kalinganagar.
“We have been informed that so far as Durgapur is concerned, empty cryogenic tanks have been airlifted and are in the process of being filled with liquid oxygen. We have also been informed that the railway is waiting in readiness to transport the said tanks to Delhi as soon as the same is loaded. So far as Rourkela and Kalinganagar are concerned, we have been informed by Ms Sumita Dawra and Mr Piyush Goyal that the GNCTD has not made arrangements for cryogenic tanks for transporting the liquid oxygen from these plants”, the court noted in the order.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi Government, submitted there had been an obstruction in the supply of oxygen at the local level in some states. At this, Justice Vipin Sanghi remarked that the court would not spare anyone obstructing the transportation of oxygen as it endangered the lives of citizens.
On the issue of cryogenic tanks, Mehta sought to submit that since Delhi was not an industrial state, and, therefore, did not have cryogenic tanks. However, officials of the central government informed the court that states, including those which do not have their own infrastructure for cryogenic tanks for industrial use, had made arrangements.
The court, thus, asked the Delhi government not to wait for tankers to arrive at their doorsteps and instead make all efforts to procure them in coordination with the sub-group formed by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).
It also directed oxygen suppliers to provide complete details of the oxygen that they supply in the NCT of Delhi by providing details of the hospitals to which they are supplied; the time at which they are supplied; and the quantities which they supply. The said information, the court said, should be made available to the officer of the Delhi government.